Maritime History of the Great Lakes

Scanner, v. 27, no. 9 (Mid-Summer 1995), p. 7

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7. DUFF G. BRACE It is with regret that we note that longtime T.M. H. S. member Duff Gordon Brace passed away on Saturday, August 5, 1995, at Ashtabula County Medi cal Center, Ashtabula, Ohio, in his 82nd year. Duff was born on April 2, 1914, at Conneaut, Ohio, and was a lifetime resident of the area. He retired from Sanborn Motor Equipment, Ashta bula, in 1982, but he also had worked closer to shipping at the A & B dock. He sailed the lakes aboard a number of ships in the 1930s, the position he enjoyed most being that of wheelsman aboard the American Steel & Wire Company's diesel craneship STEEL MOTOR before she left lake trade in 1940. He was an early draftee in the U. S. Army in World War Two and saw duty in the Southwest Pacific, rising to the rank of Master Sergeant. One of his joys whilst serving in the Pacific was seeing the former lake pas senger steamer OCTORARA operating there. Duff was a good friend and a staunch supporter of our Society, and he frequently contributed material for use in "Scanner". He was a co-foun der of the excellent Ashtabula Marine Museum, and he was honoured by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit as its Marine Historian of the Year in 1991. Duff is survived by his wife of 54 years, Jane (Kelley) Brace, and by three daughters, a sister, a brother, and four grandsons. We express to them our deepest sympathy on their loss. * * * * * BRYN MAWR'S MAIDEN VOYAGE A "Scanner" feature which attracted considerable member interest was our Ship of the Month No. 218 in the February issue. It concerned the consort barge BRYN MAWR (40), (b) BRYN BARGE, built in 1900 for the original Pitts burgh Steamship Company of Andrew Carnegie and Henry W. Oliver. We printed several follow-ups to that feature, including one contributed for the May issue by Duff Brace. That item noted that BRYN MAWR's maiden voyage took her to Conneaut, where she arrived on June 21, 1900, with 6, 469 gross tons of iron ore. The towing steamer was not identified and we challenged our members to name her, although we supposed that she would have been one of Carnegie's "College Class" steamers. We were wrong, however, the proof coming in the last letter we ever received from Duff Brace, dated June 13, less than two months before his death. In that letter, Duff noted that the "Conneaut Reporter" of June 21, 1900, iden tified the vessel towing BRYN MAWR as the 375-foot steamer LAGONDA. This may seem unusual in that LAGONDA, built in 1896 as Hull 115 of F. W. Wheeler & Company at West Bay City, Michigan, was then owned by Capt. John Mitchell's Cleveland Steamship Company. However, it was not uncommon for the Mitchell fleet, an independent carrier, to use its big and powerful steamers to tow other fleets' barges. For those who are interested but may not remember LAGONDA, she was sold in 1915 by Mitchell to the Interlake Steamship Company, and in 1926 she was converted at Toledo to a craneship. She was acquired in 1948 by the Bethle hem Transportation Company, Cleveland, and later transferred to the affi liated Ore Navigation Company, Great Lakes Division, and placed under the management of Boland & Cornelius, of Buffalo. She was scrapped at Buffalo 1959-1960.

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